Race: The Price of Penance

The Price of Penance

It is a peculiarly American idea that the social injustices of the past can be mollified with cash and property payments. In 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Federal Government to pay some $122 million to eight tribes of Sioux Indians to make up for the illegal seizure of their tribal lands in 1877. Two years ago, Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during World War II were awarded checks for $20,000. Now some African Americans want cash compensation for the slavery their ancestors endured. "We call for reparations," declared a resolution passed at the African-American summit in New Orleans...

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